How to Use a Pallet Jack: A Helpful Guide

How to Use a Pallet Jack: A Helpful Guide

Recent statistics suggest that e-Commerce is growing faster than it was prior to the pandemic. Experts say it is growing two to five times faster. This could attribute to the uptick in the pallet jack market.

There is a huge global demand for pallet jacks. A recent study shows that the worldwide demand for the pallet jack market will expand through 2030 at a 9% CAGR.

If you work for or own, a factory or warehouse, you likely use pallet jacks. However, do you know how to use a pallet jack?

There are important nuances to remember to not only operate a pallet jack the right way but to keep the person operating it safely. Here is what you need to know about how to use a pallet jack.

Buying a Pallet Jack

When you purchase one, first you must decide between a manual or an electric pallet jack. To choose the best pallet jack for your business, you will want to understand the difference between the two.

A manual pallet jack can only operate with personnel. Someone will have to push or pull the pallet jack load, with no help from a battery. Moving a manual pallet jack takes physical human force.

While there is more labor involved in using a manual pallet jack, it is helpful for a smaller warehouse that might not have a lot of inventory. Manual pallet jacks, in this case, can be more convenient and do not require a certification to operate them.

For a large business with a high volume of inventory, electric pallet jacks will work better. Either manual or electric will require maintenance and repair from time to time. This is a great link for finding pallet jack replacement wheels.

Using a Pallet Jack

Even though a manual pallet jack does not require certification to use, safety is a top priority. Anyone who operates a pallet jack for businesses should understand how to use it properly.

1. Understand the Control Lever

A key part of operating a manual pallet jack is learning how to use the control lever. Get to know the three control positions.

Neutral Position

This is the position you should put it in while it is not in use. Before you move the pallet jack, put it in neutral.

Down Position

To activate the hydraulic pump, move the lever down. To raise the pallet forks, pump the handle toward you. When you pick the pallet up, use this position.

Up Position

To lower the pallet toward the ground, pull the lever up. While dropping the pallet into position, use the up position.

2. Navigate the Pallet Jack Into Position

To move the pallet jack to the pallet you wish to move, make sure the control lever is in the neutral position. While you do this, you want the prongs to line up with the pallet’s fork openings.

To lower the prongs, pull the control lever. You want the prongs to go to the floor. Plus, you must guide them, so they go inside the pallet.

Before lifting, you must ensure the pallet is stable and the forks are in the center.

3. Raise the Pallet

Once you are certain that the pallet jack forks are located inside the pallet, you can press down on the control lever. Pull the handles toward you. You will do this in a pumping motion.

This is how you “jack” the pallet up.

When you have the pallet raised above the floor, you can put the control lever back in the neutral position. You can transport the pallet when you are ready.

You do not want the pallet too high from the ground. If this happens, the pallet will be unstable, as it affects the center of gravity.

4. Transport the Pallet

Wherever you need to go, you can push the pallet. It is much easier to push than pull. However, to get the correct position, you may need to pull sometimes.

Once you get where you need to be and you are ready, you can drop the pallet to the floor. To do this, pull the control lever. Put it in the up position.

Next, the control lever must return to the neutral position. Pull the forks of the pallet jack free from the pallet.

To avoid obstacles, before moving your pallet jack again, put the lever in the down position. To raise the forks a little off the ground, pump the handle.

5. Store Someplace Secure

When no longer in use, place the pallet jack someplace safe. Also, keep the forks low to the ground. To prevent rolling or shifting while in storage, you can install pallet jack stoppers in the parking area.

Pallet Jack Safety

Especially with equipment that does not need a certification to operate, do not let safety fall to the wayside. You want to be aware of potential hazards and prevent injury to workers. Here is what you need to know regarding pallet jack safety.

  • Before you use a pallet jack, inspect it, and test it
  • Never exceed the load capacity
  • When moving, keep the control lever in neutral and keep the forks up
  • Stay away from inclines and slopes
  • Always move carefully and slowly
  • Always store with forks down

Before allowing an employee, or yourself, to operate a pallet jack, make sure they read the pallet jack moving instructions and review these safety tips, too.

How to Use a Pallet Jack

When you read this guide and read the pallet jack’s manual, it will prepare you for how to use a pallet jack. We pride ourselves on keeping workers safe, which is why we publish articles like this one.

For more business tips, there is a lot more where this came from, so no need to leave just yet. Keep clicking around and learn more about how to safely grow your business.